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"An excellent text, highly recommended." — Choice
When it was first published, this first-year chemistry text revolutionized the teaching of chemistry by presenting it in terms of unifying principles instead of as a body of unrelated facts. Those principles included modern theories of atomic and molecular structure, quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics and thermodynamics. In addition, Dr. Pauling attempted to correlate the theories with descriptive chemistry, the observed properties of substances, to introduce the student to the multitude of chemical substances and their properties.
In this extensively revised and updated third edition, the Nobel Prize–winning author maintains an excellent balance between theoretical and descriptive material, although the amount of descriptive chemistry has been decreased somewhat, and the presentation of the subject, especially in relation to the nonmetals, has been revised in such a way as to permit greater correlation with the electronic structure of atoms, especially electronegativity.
The principles of quantum mechanics are discussed on the basis of the de Broglie wavelength of the electron. The quantized energy levels of a particle in a box are derived by means of a simple assumption about the relation of the de Broglie waves to the walls of the box. No attempt is made to solve the Schrodinger wave equation for other systems, but the wave functions of hydrogen-like electrons are presented and discussed in some detail, and the quantum states for other systems are also covered. Statistical mechanics is introduced before thermodynamics, and the discussion of thermodynamics is based on it. This arrangement reflects the author's belief that beginning students can understand statistical mechanics better than chemical thermodynamics.
Aimed at first-year college students who plan to major in chemistry or closely related fields, the book is written in a logical, clear and understandable style. In addition, many excellent figures are included, along with numerous problems and 75 pages of appendixes covering such topics as symmetry of molecules and crystals, hybrid bond orbitals, and magnetic properties of substances.
When this classic text was first published in 1935, it fulfilled the goal of its authors "to produce a textbook of practical quantum mechanics for the chemist, the experimental physicist, and the beginning student of theoretical physics." Although many who are teachers today once worked with the book as students, the text is still as valuable for the same undergraduate audience.
Two-time Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, Research Professor at the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine, Palo Alto, California, and E. Bright Wilson, Jr., Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at Harvard University, provide a readily understandable study of "wave mechanics," discussing the Schrodinger wave equation and the problems which can be solved with it. Extensive knowledge of mathematics is not required, although the student must have a grasp of elementary mathematics through the calculus. Pauling and Wilson begin with a survey of classical mechanics, including Newton's equations of motion in the Lagrangian form, and then move on to the "old" quantum theory, developed through the work of Planck, Einstein and Bohr. This analysis leads to the heart of the book ― an explanation of quantum mechanics which, as Schrodinger formulated it, "involves the renunciation of the hope of describing in exact detail the behavior of a system." Physics had created a new realm in which classical, Newtonian certainties were replaced by probabilities ― a change which Heisenberg's uncertainty principle (described in this book) subsequently reinforced.
With clarity and precision, the authors guide the student from topic to topic, covering such subjects as the wave functions for the hydrogen atom, perturbation theory, the Pauli exclusion principle, the structure of simple and complex molecules, Van der Waals forces, and systems in thermodynamic equilibrium. To insure that the student can follow the mathematical derivations, Pauling and Wilson avoid the "temptation to condense the various discussions into shorter and perhaps more elegant forms" appropriate for a more advanced audience. Introduction to Quantum Mechanics is a perfect vehicle for demonstrating the practical application of quantum mechanics to a broad spectrum of chemical and physical problems.